Monday, 26 March 2018

Do elephants have knees.

Nanny, being required to help the children with their homework, likes to keep up to date with the latest scientific publications. In about 1910 the British Royal Scientific Society put a question to its members. “Do elephants have Knees?”.

There was much discussion and calculations done to do with the weight of an elephant divided by four, the compression strength of bone and the tensile strength of cartilage and ligaments.

The conclusion that these austere scientists came to was that given the strength of bone and ligaments, obviously such bone and ligaments structures if bent, were insufficient to support the weight of an elephant and therefore an elephant could not possibly have knees.

So when Nanny was next with the children at the zoo she lingered at the elephant enclosure and to her at least watching the elephants walking around, certainly appeared to have knees.

Just to confirm her findings, when she was next with the children at the Museum of Natural Science, she lingered at elephants skeleton, while the children played between its bony legs. That poor elephant certainly had knees. Knees that looked amazingly like the X rays of her own knees which women of her ilk tend to keep in the bottom drawer.

So she wondered why those great British scientists, when asked do elephants have knees, did not do as she did and go and have a look.

Nanny, with the children, frequents the many playgrounds by the beach or coastal lagoon. Her due diligence and duty of care and scientific reading and generally, not wanting to have the children drown, needed to check on her readings of sea level rise.

She read that those great contemporary scientists, at NASA, had done the calculations based on the melting of the ice at the poles, previously known as “Global Warming”, now known as “Climate Change”. The calculations, complete with computer modelling predicted the sea level was to rise half a meter in the next twenty years.

This frightened Nanny. After all this was the organisation that put men on the moon and sent satellites to mars, they must be right. Moreover the calculations and conclusions were backed by the Australian Department of Geoscience who sent out an urgent edict to all coastal local Councils to amend their town planning laws to prevent any new  building in low lying areas that will be drowned by this rise in sea level.

So Nanny, with the scientific experience of discovering elephants do in fact have knees, behind her, when she took the children on an excursion to Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour. Nanny lingered at the device that has been recording the high and low tides for at least the last hundred years.

The records are kept by the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) for all to see.

Nanny viewed these records with some in trepidation. The one hundred year old records showed very, very little indication that the sea level was rising.

Nanny worried that maybe though the sea is about to rise in Sydney with a great big rush.

Or maybe just maybe, Nanny figured, these great scientists, like calculating that elephants could not possibly have knees, have been so pre-occupied with calculating sea level rise that they simply did not have time to look.




Tom Simmat & Associates Pty Limited (Architects) 

“The Brolgas” 6 Brolga Place Belrose NSW 2085

Phone: 9453 0022 mob: 0415975423

Tom Simmat Board of Architects of NSW Registration No 4392


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